Police brutality raises costs to taxpayers
Schenectady’s City Council has voted to use the general fund to pay the already bargained 2 percent raise for police. I assume the annual $2.5 million casino licensing fee — 80 percent of it — will now go for public education? Education must never be back-staged by ravenous “public safety” interests, yet addressing a police raise from the general fund is very problematical.
About 53 percent of Schenectady’s general fund comes from property, sales and use taxes, with the general fund’s single greatest expense, “law enforcement” — mostly for police salaries and pensions.
Schenectady police enhance their salaries with overtime, which elevates officers’ base pay and raises the city’s pension indebtedness.
Chicago’s taxpayers carry multiple general obligation bond indebtedness just for retroactive pension arrears and mounting police brutality lawsuits. Schenectady’s general fund itself is burdened with police brutality payouts: one in 2015 (man’s head slammed on sidewalk), another just filed (family brutalized), and yet another moving toward filing (woman’s head shoved in fecal-filled toilet).
Schenectady’s city officials “risk-manage” such police civil rights abuses by taxpayers’ insuring against expected police brutality, suggesting that police civil rights abuses are far from unusual. Schenectady’s general fund buys police-related liability insurance — around $100,000 annually — but police brutality payouts increase premiums and reduce deductible levels. Taxpayer money covers costs from deductibles and private attorneys’ fees to defend Schenectady police.
But the bitterest aspect of “risk-managing” police brutality is that the poor — statistically most likely to be abused by police — are those whose taxes go disproportionately toward lawsuit payouts and police salaries.
Schenectady must freeze police salaries, and now that a police chief is in place, a transparent system for evaluating police merit collaboratively must be worked out among city managers, taxpayers and the Police Benevolent Association (PBA). A public educated in city schools enhances “public safety;” police who violate civil rights weaken security and are taxpayer costly.
Martha K. Huggin
The writer is a former Union College professor
Thanks for help saving Nelson Avenue bridge
The state Department of Transportation [DOT] has reversed its decision and will now keep open the Nelson Avenue Extension bridge over I-87.
On behalf of the “Save the Bridge” committee members, we want to express our sincere thanks to DOT officials and the many elected officials for listening to their constituents. They heard us loud and clear, reviewed their options, and chose to work with concerned citizens to achieve a successful resolution to what could have been a severe hardship for thousands of residents. This was a true example in which both parties were able to work together to solve a community issue.
This bridge is a gateway between the town of Malta and the city of Saratoga Springs. It is a vital emergency route and is used by Saratoga Lake residents, visitors to the region, local businesses and hundreds of bicyclists and recreationalists.
We wish to publicly thank DOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll and his staff, public officials in Saratoga Springs, Malta, Saratoga County and the state Legislature, and the thousands of people who signed our petitions and all those who stood behind us on this important issue.
DOT officials previously stated that the bridge is of a type of construction that cannot be maintained for a long period of time. Therefore, our next phase will focus on working with our elected officials to find the funds for the bridge replacement and to work with DOT officials to set a timeline for future replacement. Thank you, DOT, for hearing our voices.
The letter was signed by all the members of Save the Bridge committee.
Grateful for cleanup of Bellevue eyesore
A big thank you to Schenectady’s Parks Department for the cleanup of a Bellevue property abandoned for several years.
You could hardly see the yard itself, considering the grass/weeds were 5 feet tall and it was filled with so much junk (tub, coolers, fish tank, pieces of fencing, just to name a few) that each renter left behind. At this time, we’re not even sure who is responsible for this property. So again thank you so much for an amazing job. Really appreciate it.
Democrats have done nothing to earn vote
Where do I begin? Sitting here in stunning amazement at how low the American justice system and political system has fallen in the United States. Talk about winning power at any cost.
The former Democratic Party (which is not totally progressive left) is not only dangerous, but truly bad for the nation.
How the Clintons have grabbed power makes Al Capone look like a Boy Scout. (Sorry, Al.)
What did the Clintons and company threaten FBI Director James Comey with? Clearly, the progressive Democratic Party owns the Department of Justice. And what they won’t do, President Obama will finish up.
Comey delivered amnesty to all law breakers in the party. No. 1 — Hillary. But he’s a fourth-generation Democrat and supports the party.
What have the Democrats done for this man and blacks in that time? Nothing. Even the supporters cannot name one thing for their kids’ education. Sad.
We must get over the mindset of voting for a person because of gender or skin color. How ignorant.
The press has been largely responsible for all of this, never reporting the truth. Examples: Hillary’s blood clots and her medical problems since 1996. What say you folks?
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Categories: Letters to the Editor